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Drumming under water

Permanent Linkby michi on Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:32 am

Well, here I am in Queensland (the Sunshine State), and three quarters of the state have been declared a disaster area. The recent floods are the worst natural disaster in Australia's history (in extent, not in terms of loss of life fortunately).

Queensland is a large state. To give you an idea how large, take Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. All together, they are not quite as large as Queensland. You need to add Massachusetts and Connecticut to make up the difference. Or, if you want to put it differently, Queensland is has almost exactly 20% of the land area of the entire United States. Three quarters of that are flooded or severely affected by flood.

Queensland has experienced very serious losses of crops and livestock. Infrastructure is seriously damaged everywhere. Roads, bridges, water supply, electricity, communications, etc. It is difficult to ensure supply of essential goods to many areas that are cut off by the floods. Supermarkets are low or empty of fruit and vegetables in many areas and there is no milk or eggs, bottled water, and very little meat. The Brisbane markets, which are the central supply point for much of Queensland, are flooded and out of action, so the supply chain will continue to be strained for quite some time to come.

So far, thirteen people are confirmed dead after the flash floods in Toowoomba and the Lockyer valley. Entire towns have been completely wiped out in the Lockyer valley. By "wiped out", I mean just that. Houses have been carried hundreds of meters down-stream by the flood; where the flood went through, almost nothing is left standing. Around 70 people are still unaccounted for, and the fear is that many of them will have died.

In Brisbane, the peak of the flood occurred at 4:00am this morning, at 4.5 meters, which, fortunately, is one meter shy of the '74 flood. At the moment, flood waters are down by about a foot but will rise again to around 4.5 meters this afternoon with the high tide. Around 20,000 homes and businesses are flooded. 116,000 people are without electricity. The Brisbane river is a raging torrent, hundreds of meters wide in many places.

Unfortunately, the venue where we do our drum and dance lessons was flooded. At the moment, there are three feet of water in the place. So much for the wooden dance floor, the mirror wall, kitchen, sales counter, etc. At least I was proactive enough to go there two days ago and rescue my dunduns, which would have been history otherwise. It'll be days before the water will recede, and weeks for the building to dry out. There is no way that we will be teaching in that space again for the next few weeks at least. We are currently looking for a temporary venue to hold our classes starting on 29 January.

On a personal level, I am not directly affected by the floods—my house is 86 meters above sea level and nowhere near the flooded areas. Linda and Yenenesh (my co-teachers) are also OK. At this point, we have no idea how our students have fared. We fear that many of them will be affected. We have a bunch of people in our classes from Ipswich (40km from Brisbane), which is another complete disaster area, with much of the city center under water. And many of our students live in West End, one of the worst affected suburbs (which is also where we are teaching), so at least some of them will almost certainly have suffered.

Economically, no-one has any idea yet of the total damage. But it will be in the tens of billions easily. Tough times ahead for many people :-(

Michi.

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Re: Drumming under water

Permanent Linkby Waraba on Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:09 am

Good God. My thoughts are with you.
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Re: Drumming under water

Permanent Linkby James on Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:54 am

Yikes, sounds hardcore. I hope Queensland can pull through this disaster...
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Re: Drumming under water

Permanent Linkby Djembe-nerd on Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:07 pm

Hey, keep the spirits high and hope the best for all of you. I can feel you guys, I have been through 2 hurricanes here and its very devastating.

But don;t forget, there more tu tu ta ta to come in life.
If you want to see me kick some butt, just tell me about all the things you think I won't be able to do
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Re: Drumming under water

Permanent Linkby Dugafola on Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:16 pm

best of luck michi!!!

good thing you saved your dununs!!
should i shave my moustache?
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Re: Drumming under water

Permanent Linkby bops on Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:36 pm

Been catching up on things.... this sounds devastating. I hope for the best for you and your family and friends. Glad to hear that you are safe.

I'm afraid that severe flooding is becoming more common due to the global climate crisis. As the polar ice caps melt away, sea levels and water tables rise. Places that were once safe from floods are now at risk. Countries like the U.S. and China, who are huge polluters, are most at fault due to the inaction of those governments. It's sad; even though many individuals take great care to reduce waste and fuel consumption in their daily lives, the problem continues to grow because our government refuses to enact limits and penalties on industrial polluters. :(
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Re: Drumming under water

Permanent Linkby michi on Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:23 pm

The increasing average temperatures mean that the atmosphere can hold more moisture, which means that heavy precipitation events will continue to get worse. A recent study has confirmed this trend over the past 50 years.

But the real problem is that there are too many people on this planet. The world's population has more than tripled in my lifetime...
Last edited by michi on Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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